I watched this show because it is the top recommendation for Kimikiss. I enjoyed Kimikiss, but I didn't enjoy Hatsukoi all that much. While they both fall into the romance genre, Hatsukoi amounts to a lot of fluff and very little substance with too much mindless ecchi content.
Story: The narrative came off as cobbled together and disjointed, probably because the story focused on too many characters in not enough episodes. The development of relationships wasn't very natural or romantic, and I didn't like how certain things were left unresolved until the very end, with not much development in between. I also didn't like how the conclusion focused so much on the male characters angst and then gave them more or less what they wanted. And there's nothing that undermines the concluding message, "You should pick boys for their personality and not their looks," like having Ayumi choose to pursue Zaitsu-kun junior (one of the weakest characters in the whole show) over his ugly older brother, nicknamed Beast-kun for his looks.
Characters: The characters were one-dimensional. They all had one aspect to their personality as well as a fairly simple problem, and none of them showed any significant character development over the course of the show.
Overall: Like I said, there's a lot of fluff here, as well as a lot of unnecessary ecchi content (panty shots and jiggling boobies) that does nothing to advance the plot...except when it IS the plot, and that's just as bad. It wasn't bad enough to make me stop watching it, but I wouldn't recommend it to anyone either.